I enjoyed many fabulous events during my visit to Chicago this July, but one experience that will stay with me for a long time was a visit to Eli’s Cheesecake World with my friends Jenni from Sweet Pennies from Heaven, Becky from The Mommy Islands and Amanda from The Kids Did It. It was a beautiful day(the weather was perfect!) as we left the Sheraton for the suburbs of Chicago.
We arrived at Eli’s Cheesecake World and met with the VP of Marketing, Debbie and had a chance to learn about the company and sample some cheesecake! We learned that Eli’s uses 4 million pounds of cream cheese, 500,000 pounds of eggs, 250,000 pounds of butter, and 13,000 pounds of Bourbon vanilla each year.
And Eli’s basic cheesecake is amazing! It’s simply made with a combination of the best quality slow-cultured cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, Madagascar vanilla beans and whole eggs. The crust is an all-butter shortbread cookie! (LOVE the crust!) And so many different flavors originate with this recipe. Next time I order, I’m going to get the Eli’s Original Favorites Sampler. Perfect for the holidays.
We were asked to sample a mystery cheesecake flavor and come up with a name. I hadn’t even had coffee yet, so my creative juice had yet to flow. I was hoping my cohorts would come up with something brilliant. This cheesecake was a creamy concoction with pistachios and a hint of sweetness. Our unoriginal ideas were along the lines of Honey Nut Cheesecake — nowhere as good as the official name of Honey Mediterranean Cheesecake with Pistachios, just one of their new flavors.
We learned that the honey is harvested from wildflowers by the students from The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. The cheesecake is made from a blend of cream cheese with added ricotta – this makes it a bit less sweet than you would expect in a cheesecake.
Debbie told us about how it all started — In the 1970’s Eli Schulman created a cheesecake that his restaurant customers loved. He showed off his creation at the 1980 “Taste of Chicago” food festival. From there, it’s grown from a local favorite to the large specialty cheesecake bakery it is today. Eli’s Cheesecake is still a family-owned business and has provided desserts around the world and the famous dessert was even served at President Obama’s Inaugural Commander-in-Chief’s Ball in 2009.
After donning our couture protective gear, we were set loose in the factory! When I spied the conveyor belt full of cheesecakes being decorated by the crew, I had visions of Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory!
But sadly, it was not to be. Instead we were invited to decorate our own cheesecakes that would be shipped home! Yay, cheesecake!
I went a bit crazy with the frosting (even “borrowing” some from unattended pastry bags ) I received my penance in the form of a dented cake — courtesy of my husband’s hurried attempt to remove it from the shipping carton. Lesson learned. :(
Still tasted great!
So, how would you like your very own Eli’s Cheesecake delivered to your door? Eli’s Cheesecakes can be ordered online here.
Or visit Eli’s Cheesecake in Chicago!
And, thanks to the good people at Eli’s, I’m able to offer a chance for one lucky reader to win a FREE Eli’s Cheesecake! How cool is that?
a Rafflecopter giveaway